YOU’RE NEVER TOO OLD TO LAUNCH A TRAVEL BLOG
Tuesday, April 30, 2019: A TRAVEL blog with a difference launched this week. Afaranwide is written by an “old married couple” who are journalists and expats, currently living in Hong Kong.
Sue Brattle and Colin Simpson believe that their age (they like to call it maturity) and very different personalities bring colour to everything they write. As expats, travellers and tourists they’re at home as tenants around the world, hitting the road across California, or joining the crowds at the Taj Mahal.
Their first batch of posts include Colin’s experiences during 50 years as a diver, Sue’s insights as a guest at Gulf Arab weddings in Dubai, and the weird process of slowly becoming a foreigner in your home country.
After 12 years of rich and wonderful experiences as expats since leaving the UK, Sue, 64, from Maidstone, Kent, and Colin, 63, from Edinburgh, agreed it was time to write and reflect on their adventures. So Afaranwide.com was born, with “afaran” being a 10th Century Old English verb meaning to travel, depart, or go out from. We found something that’s even older than us!
Sue says: “It all started when I had breast cancer 14 years ago. Back at work in London one night I was stuck in a three-hour traffic jam and realised life is too precious to waste. I rang Colin, and we agreed within minutes that we’d have an adventure. And we are.”
Colin adds: “We’ve learned so much by living abroad and travelling, things that we took for granted. But our story is unusual and we want to share it with people who may be thinking of moving abroad, or having an adventure of their own.”
Welcome to our world!
Afaranwide is a blog written by Colin Simpson and Sue Brattle, a married couple who are expats, travellers and tourists. After 25 or so years on national newspapers in the UK, their jobs as journalists have taken them to Dubai, China and Hong Kong, with additional stays in Saudi Arabia, the Seychelles, France and the United States. The adventure continues.
Imprint 18 has launched! Thank you to all who attended the launch at the FCC last night. It was a fabulous evening. Many thanks to all who contributed to another issue of our wonderful anthology!
Our event on 11 March 2019 at the FCC was a big success! Claire Chao, co-author of Remembering Shanghai: a Memoir of Socialites, Scholars, and Scoundrels with her mother, Isabel Sun Chao, fascinated us with backstory about the 10 year process of researching and writing her book as well as sharing valuable information about her decision to self publish and giving advice based on her ongoing marketing journey. Her beautiful book, a work of art as well as a terrific family saga, was available for signing. Claire is originally from Hong Kong, and the 3rd edition of her book was printed in Hong Kong by Regal Publishing. – Summary by Heather Diamond
Jane Moir’s introduction to the world of libel, slander and defamation was extremely interesting and thought-provoking with lively participation from a riveted audience. As a former journalist, Jane has been on the receiving end of defamation letters but luckily, no action was taken. With her current hat on as a barrister in criminal law, her detailed presentation on the various terms used in this form of litigation was very insightful and given the prohibitive cost of lawyers and taking someone to court in Hong Kong, we all keenly waited for her advice on how we could defend ourselves should the situation arise! It seems that the most common route for this is for the libel to be considered as fair opinion as thought of by honest men and women and for the writer to immediately issue an apology. In that way, extremely expensive court action can usually be avoided. However she stressed that as a writer, you are ‘on your own’. She gave some fascinating examples of cases in Hong Kong and queries from WiPS members about constitutes a libel (especially those who were in the process of writing) moved the discussion towards possible infringement of copyright law. All in all, a really worthwhile evening so many thanks Jane for enlightening us all on this very relevant topic. (Reported by Sarah Cook)
On 29 January 2019, WiPS had an “Open Mic” night to showcase the wide range of work we do. It was a small group (but a perfectly formed one) that gathered together at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club.
We all had a chance to introduce ourselves and say where we were “coming from” before “saying our piece” which included reading portions of memoirs, poems, travel writing, and Imprint pieces — pieces include Sue Brattle‘s touching and true story about an encounter with a mother in a hairdressing salon who was preparing to visit her son in prison, the animated performance by Susan Lavender of her ode to gerunds and many more.
Relocating from Singapore to Tokyo and then to Hong Kong within a year in 2007 wasn’t easy for my family of four. But realizing we might stick around for at least a few years allowed me to settle in.
I picked up brushes and canvases from the art store in Wan Chai and began the artistic journey that I had originally contemplated while living in the US in 2000. My first exhibit in Hong Kong was at home with the help of a few friends. I sold a couple of my favourite paintings and that nudged me forward. It was a tough journey but I never wavered.
In 2013, I was awarded an Honorary Prize for “Best Impressionistic Style Painting” at the Master of Art International Art Prize in London. I literally fell off my seat as I wasn’t expecting any recognition, let alone an award. In the meantime, I took a graphic design course and started to write freelance for Hong Kong Living as I wanted to make the most of my Masters in English Literature. I aIso undertook an internship at an art magazine, ArtAsiaPacific, and learned a lot about the publishing world. I won the Justice Centre Choice Award for the Human Rights Art Prize 2015 for my acrylic painting, “If Only I Could Fly”. Using this success, I applied and exhibited at various locations in Hong Kong, Osaka, and Kuala Lumpur.
Now as an editor for Southside Magazine at Hong Kong Living, I have come to realize the value of time and doing what we enjoy in life. And yes, I still paint on the weekend. You see me socializing less but hey, I’m enjoying the journey!